Unlike in Florida’s dysfunctional education infrastructure, Georgia school’s chief is elected. But Georgia’s republican legislators wanted to be more like Florida by establishing a state agency which controlled oversight of charter schools. “No good” says state superintendent John Barge on a ballot measure that would do just that. From Education Week reporter Sean Cavanagh:
Barge, a former teacher and principal, said he backs the creation of “high-quality” charters, but said the commission’s approval of new ones would drain funding from traditional public school systems shaken by state budget cuts. Until the state makes up for those cuts, “we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia’s local school districts,” Barge said in a statement. The superintendent added that he thought creating the commission would usurp local control over education, and allow public money to flow to for-profit charter operators.
“I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education,” Barge said. “What’s more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases).”
Georgia’s republican schools chief is sounding, well, rather republican. Naturally, Georgia’s republican governor doesn’t like it because he wants to be just like Rick Scott. Nathan Deal wants to be able to stock a charter school board with a bunch of cronies to overrule a locally elected school board when they deny a charter school application.
One things that’s missing in Georgia is a bogus high-performing charter school law which allows for-profit charter schools to fatten up on test scores from affluent kids and force their way into districts whose local boards don’t want them. And then top it off with a Walton funded flack who says that local schools boards are breaking the law like Charter School Alliance CEO Cheri Shannon said last February. Georgia’s legislators have one Florida technique down. They’ve have learned to go with the thug option when they don’t get their way.